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aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:38 am
by breakingbad
Newby here, been wondering if adding air to the wash would help produce more alcohol, speed up the fermenting process, or have any other benefits. Is there any part of the forum where this is discussed?

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:33 am
by just-a-sip
breakingbad wrote:Newby here, been wondering if adding air to the wash would help produce more alcohol, speed up the fermenting process, or have any other benefits. Is there any part of the forum where this is discussed?

although there are some that aerate or stir there is no added benefit for it.

you cant make more alcohol then the potential sugars that are present, it wont necessarily go faster and most ferments are under a week for hobby batches anyway. and all in all there is just no benefit to the added work or effort. just leave it be and you will be fine.

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:43 pm
by S-Cackalacky
just-a-sip wrote:
breakingbad wrote:Newby here, been wondering if adding air to the wash would help produce more alcohol, speed up the fermenting process, or have any other benefits. Is there any part of the forum where this is discussed?

although there are some that aerate or stir there is no added benefit for it.

you cant make more alcohol then the potential sugars that are present, it wont necessarily go faster and most ferments are under a week for hobby batches anyway. and all in all there is just no benefit to the added work or effort. just leave it be and you will be fine.
Have to disagree somewhat. Might be OK without aeration, but I think the advantage is to get the yeast going a little faster during the initial reproduction phase. There's been a good bit written in the forums about the benefits of aerating. However, it's recommended that you only do it once - in the beginning before fermentation starts. After fermentation starts, the little buggers shouldn't be disturbed.

Just sayin',
S-C

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:28 pm
by MitchyBourbon
Yeast won't reproduce themselves without oxygen. With no oxygen in your wash/mash whatever yeast you pitched will begin making alcohol directly. If you don't have enough yeast to start with they will struggle to convert all the sugar into alcohol. If put under stress the yeast will produce a lot of undesirable components and you will end up with piss.

I always make a good 1 liter starter per 5 gallons. Using a starter minimizes the need for aeration but it does not eliminate it. Using a starter also confirms whether or not your yeast are healthy.

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:44 pm
by heartcut
As has been said, yeast need oxygen (or fatty acids) for reproduction during the lag cycle. On neutral and vodka washes I add 1/8 teaspoon of olive oil per 5 gallons without aeration and that keeps the bugs happy and the distillate more "neutral". Whiskey and rum get oxygen (and more taste). Your mileage may vary.
Edit- +1 on the starter if you're going for smoother taste.

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:57 pm
by woodshed
I always aerate. Nothin fancy just let the pump run a bit after all product is transferred into FV. Do 30 seconds of bubble up. Brew shops sell aeration kits cause they work.

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:59 pm
by acfixer69
Aeration before pitching is very good idea. But after is just adding more nasties to the ferment and a bad idea. Air is dirty. Pure Oxygen is the best.

AC

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:10 pm
by S-Cackalacky
To aerate I use my little portable compressor. I have a length of 1/4" silicone tubing zip tied to a stick so I can shove it all the way to the bottom of the fermenter. I shove the air nozzle into the other end of the tube and empty out the small air tank into the wash at fairly low pressure. Even at low pressure, it produces fairly violent action - kicking things up and aerating pretty good. If you try this, just make sure your compressor is oil free.

S-C

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:21 pm
by heartcut
Aeration is the most common way to give the yeast reproductive nutrients, but keep olive oil in your quiver- like most things in this hobby, it's not better or worse, just different. Tried it first on beer and got less higher alcohol tastes, which is good or bad depending on what you want (the beer does keep longer). For me, it works for vodka and neutral.

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:29 pm
by woodshed
Olive oil? I Do very few neutral spirits but this sounds cool. Do you pick it up in taste or nose at all?

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:48 pm
by Richard7
I oxygenate with an oxygen concentrator that I just happen to have due to unfortunate circumstances, but I have it on hand. I do not use it after I pitch. But I do use it to help bring the temp down and make sure the yeast have a good oxygen rich environment to get started in.
Once I pitch the yeast the oxygen is stopped. From what I have learned, oxygen is good to help it get started with the yeast reproduction but it is not good during the ferment. Like you have heard in previous post!

Edit to add... I'd like to hear about the olive oil too....

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:51 pm
by just-a-sip
i think the point has been missed by several of you.

yes yest need oxygen, and yes there is a lag time that the yeast have when reproducing. the original mixing and aeration of your mash is more then enough oxygenation of your mash during the fermentation process. if you want a good solid fermentation without any nasties your better off getting a good initial mix and then leaving it alone.

there is a reason that when brewing, they ensure to aerate then almost always pitch a starter, after that they leave it alone until dry or a secondary fermentation. bottom line there is no added benefit to aerating during the mashing or fermentation process but there are draw backs such as an infection. so for me as well as many the time and risk is not worth it to TINKER

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:36 am
by heartcut
woodshed wrote:Olive oil? I Do very few neutral spirits but this sounds cool. Do you pick it up in taste or nose at all?
At 1/8 tsp per 5 gal, the yeast eat it all- there's no oil slick or anything.

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:46 am
by Smokehouse Shiner
Just a sip has a point. If your using tap water to top off your wash its already being aerated as it comes from the tap and goes into the fermenter. You know those little screens in your faucet? Those are called aeraters. If using a hose or such just making a good splash as you put the water in the fermenter is sufficient. All grainers your stirring alot so also a non issue.

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:59 am
by Prairiepiss
Adding oxygen to the wort before pitching is very beneficial. For a good healthy yeast colony.

Something as simple as stirring the heck out of it. Or pouring it back and forth between two buckets. A few times. Or using an aquarium air pump and stone. Will get you around 7 ppm oxy. They say the yeast would like around 13 ppm. Going off a crappy memory on the numbers here. It may be off. But using 100% oxy and an air stone will get you closer to like 30 ppm. So you need to limit the time a little. But to much oxy isn't necessarly a bad thing. To little can be a bad thing. The 7 ppm using normal air. Is usually plenty for a short lag time and a good yeast colony.

If while you are making a mash/wash you boil the water at any point. You just removed the oxygen from it. And it needs to be replaced.

But all this is before fermentation starts. Once fermentation has started the less you mess with it. The less chance to introduce any nasties into the mix.

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:16 am
by SiyaD
Yeast produces 33 times more alcohol while reproducing than when resting.
Here are the more stuff about this http://homedistiller.org/wash/ferment" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:26 am
by Maxximus Flavius
I introduce oxygen as a by product of mixing the ingredients with a sterile paint stirrer and my electric drill. After the sugar has been fully dissolved, I get a good vortex going and add the tomato paste and yeast right into the centre. Complete homogenization of the wash. Then sealed and air-locked and that's the last I touch it for six days. I've been getting consistent 11% from a Birdwatchers Wash if I keep the temperature constant at the recommended number.

Re: aeration of mash

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:34 am
by Halfbaked
S-cac
If you are using an air compressor like the kind you use to take the lug nuts off your car with I wouldn't. Air compressors build up water and then create rusty waterin the tank. That's why you are supposed to put oil in your air tools every time you use them. I have seen oil from the compressor in there also. If you have a portable unit it is prob oil less so you prob won't see oil in yours. Drain your compressors and you will see what you are putting in your wash. Your idea was good but there might be better ways to keep your yeast from stressing out.

+1 on everyone else.